Way back in the before times, Paramount Pictures stirred up an online hornet's nest when it released the first poster for "Top Gun: Maverick," a movie it planned to release in the summer of 2020.
Tom Cruise had returned to play Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, the gifted-but-reckless Navy aviator who was the lead in the 1986 box-office smash, "Top Gun." More than three decades later, the filmmakers decided to bring back the iconic leather jacket that Maverick wore in the first movie.
Except there was a change, a change that quickly became a problem for Paramount. Back in 1986, Maverick's patch for his tour of duty on the USS Galveston featured the flags of Japan and Taiwan in addition to a United States flag and a United Nations logo. The 2019 "Top Gun: Maverick" poster kept the U.S. flag and U.N. logo but replaced the other two with mysterious nonsense logos.
A loud contingent of online commenters swore they'd never, ever see another Tom Cruise movie and especially not the one titled "Top Gun: Maverick." The filmmakers had betrayed both the rules of the Top Gun Movie Universe and showed an embarrassing desire to appease the Chinese government in Beijing, which insists that Taiwan is not an actual country.
Fast-forward three years to Pete Mitchell's first scene in the version of "Top Gun: Maverick" now playing in theaters and dominating the international box office. After doing a bit of mechanical work on his vintage P-51 plane, the Navy test pilot goes to his locker to grab a jacket before hopping on his motorcycle to go to work.
He reaches for the iconic leather jacket, slips his arms into the sleeves, and on his back, we see the original patch with the Japanese and Taiwanese flags restored to their proper place in movie history.
"Top Gun: Maverick" was not approved for release in China, so there's no Taiwanese flag crisis going on for anyone now. We'll probably never know if the moviemakers put the flags back on the jacket before or after the Chinese government rejected the film.
If you vowed to boycott "Top Gun: Maverick" because of the flag kerfuffle, consider this your release from those vows. Of course, the movie's been selling so many tickets that anyone might wonder if the complainers actually followed through on their promise to skip the movie over a patch.
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